I was intending to write a post about my time in Chiang Rai but decided instead to write about Wat Rong Khun, aka The White Wat or White Temple. I was advised to make a trip there by my warmshowers.org hosts Robert and Kung. I must admit that by the time I had got to Chiang Rai I had seen so many temples that the thought of making a special journey just to see one more felt like overkill. 
I arrived in Chiang Rai in an anxious state. My ipod had got rained on and was completely dead. No sign of life whatsoever. The thought of spending another four months without music or audiobooks to keep me company was depressing. It was my own fault though. When I was walking around the market on my day out in Myanmar I wrapped my phone and camera in a plastic bag but for some reason I left my ipod sitting on the top tube of the bike inside a mesh bag. No protection from the rain at all. I can't think why I didn't protect it, so I only have myself to blame. I was told of a guy with a tech stall in Central Plaza, a shopping mall in Chaing Rai, that could fix it. It was a long and complicated series of requests and pleads to get him to even try. The new ipods are almost impossible to open and close without damaging beyond repair. He also told me that even if the battery survived and could be made to work again the hard drive would probably be useless. I explained to him that it didn't work now, so nothing he did could make it worse. Eventually he agreed to give it a go. 24 hours later I returned to find the ipod working, but with doubts about the battery being able to hold a charge. He was unable to get a battery for it as it was an "old model". I can't understand why as I only bought it a couple of months ago. Still, technology moves at an amazing rate and I had something to listen to if only for short periods between charging. I had been considering my options and was thinking of buying a new one on ebay and having my father sync it with my pc at home and fedexing it to me, which I may still have to do if the battery fails completely. Time will tell.
But in the meantime I was so pleased to have it working again that I decided to make the 15km journey and set off to see the white wat.
AND I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID
The Wat is the work of the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
I suggest you visit this website for even better photos and a little information about the temple and the artist or try a google search to find out more.
http://www.canvas-of-light.com/2010/12/the-white-temple-thailand/

Stunning as the photographs are they really don't convey the amazing work that is going on here. The temple was started in 1997 and was funded by the artist himself without asking for contributions from the government or anyone else. There are nine buildings planned for the three acre site and work is scheduled to finish in about 2070.

It was pure chance that I happened to telephone Martin on completion of my visit to the grounds of the temple when he told me to visit the Hall of Inspiration, a collection of the artists other work. This collection is tucked away at the end of the coffee and souvenir shops that prevents most people from even finding it. I hadn't seen a signpost to alert visitors to its presence so was thankful for making the call. The exhibits include paintings in various media as well as sculptures, porcelain broaches and metalwork. Unfortunately photographs were not allowed inside this hall but you can take a look at some of the artists other work by visiting this website.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Chalermchai+Kositpipat.&hl=de&client=firefox-a&hs=5pG&tbo=u&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=jsARUcLsG8LPrQed3oGYCQ&ved=0CDkQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=946

I have copied a few here to give you an example of the kind of work he does. I strongly recommend taking a look at the full page views. His use of colour and imagery is amazing.
 





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